Born to Richard and Dorothy (Decker) Peter, Philena was the younger child in the small family of two children. Philena Ann grew to love her baptismal name because her mother made it up just for her. Philena’s early life was influenced by the Sisters of Notre Dame, as she attended Ladyfield Elementary School, Notre Dame Academy, and Notre Dame College of Ohio. When Philena became a Sister of Notre Dame, she took the name Sister Mary Doretta, a form of Dorothy in honor of her mother. Her mother’s conversion to the Catholic faith was a most joyous day for Sister Mary Doretta and her family.
Sister attended Bowling Green State University, where she earned a master’s degree in Special Education. In 1973 Sister began teaching at Mary Immaculate School in Toledo, a school for children with special needs. In 1979 Sister spent a few years teaching first grade in other schools in the Toledo Diocese but then returned to her first love and teaching specialty at Mary Immaculate School where she taught another 25 years. Many parents and former students have attested that “You could always rely on Sister Doretta” and “Everyone knew by her words and actions that Sister cared very deeply about the well-being of the students.” Truly gifted in helping special needs children with her creative methods, Sister shared her knowledge by serving on the Autism Academy School Board for nine years.
Sister shared her creative energy with others. She enjoyed singing, cooking, decorating, and most of all arranging flowers for chapel. Sister Mary Doretta is especially remembered as being prayerful and a great lover of the Eucharist as she prepared many young children for their first Communion. Her devotion to Mary found expression in her daily recitation of the rosary, May altars, processions to the grotto, and her membership in Our Lady’s Sodality.
January 15, 2021, was a special day for her as she was to celebrate her Golden Jubilee of Profession. Only did God know that she would stand before her Bridegroom to receive His welcoming embrace into her eternal home. Sister Mary Doretta’s favorite scripture quote found its fulfillment in her: She has now RECEIVED. She has now FOUND. And the door has now been OPENED to her. (Lk 11:10) May she rest in peace.
To view PowerPoint please follow link: Sister Mary Doretta Peter, SND